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Wednesday, 22 June 2016

5 of Swords in Tarot de Marseille

CBD Tarot, Ben-Dov
An RWS reader sees the 5 of Swords and says, 'Defeat. Loss. Betrayal.' I even used to call it the 'nanner nanner boo boo' card, because the victors look so smug and the defeated look so... defeated. But what's in the Tarot de Marseille image?

Look at the card. Think literally to start with. What do swords do? They cut. We use them to defend and to attack. Sometimes they are ceremonial, where they are used to display power and authority. For any sword card, we would do well to remember what a sword literally is and what it represents. Defend, attack, power, authority. Cut, stab, slice, penetrate.

Think about the colours. Forget 'colour symbolism' and be literal. Red is heat, blood. Pale blue is cold and icy. Yellow is the colour of the sun and of gold.

In this image we see four curved scimitars which might be viewed as a ceremonial array, or it might be a defensive formation, or an offensive 'trap'. (Anyone see 'Game of Thrones' recently?!)  In the centre is a red sword with a gold cross guard, blue grip, red pommel and white peen block, or 'pommel button' (these four parts combine to form the 'hilt'). The blade of this sword is red and it is shorter and wider than any other sword in the suit. It appears to be a substantial weapon, created not for aesthetics but for use. (As opposed to some of the longer, slender blades seen in the swords suit.)

In all of the odd sword cards, we see a single red-bladed sword involved in some way with the pale blue cross-hatching at the top of the card. However, in every other card, we see the sword's blade below, its tip above, but only red diamond shapes in the blue area.  (such as the one seen below the sword). It is only in the 5 of Swords that the actual red blade itself is clearly depicted penetrating the blue at the top of the card. And here is where we get the key word for 5 of Swords: 'Breakthrough'.

Five of Swords is the only card that shows a red blade with a red pommel. All of the swords have red blades with pale blue grips, showing the swords consist of strong feelings wielded with detachment -- sans merci? But this is the only one with a red pommel. The pommel of a sword is not there for decoration. It is essential to the construction of the sword. Its purpose is to fasten the blade into the hilt, act as a counterbalance to the weight of the blade, and support the hand. This one is red, and is somewhat larger than other pommels in the sword suit. This blade of passions or strongly held beliefs or determination or bloody-mindedness, or whatever you wish to read into the colour red, is anchored in more of the same. Wielded with a detachment that suggests lack of mercy. And unlike other sword cards, the 5 of Swords clearly shows the main blade penetrating blockages created by the other swords in the card.

The interpretation given in The Open Reading by Yoav Ben-Dov:

'An initiative to push forward and go beyond present limitations. Perseverance in a tight situation brings success. Going your own way regardless of disturbance by others. Imposing your will on adversaries who are weaker.'

We've put an offer on that second house that turned up in a recent reading. Perhaps today will be the 'breakthrough'. We're still waiting to hear from the vendor with a response to our offer.

What breakthroughs are you hoping to make today?